Natasha Devon delivers 'powerful message' at latest Look Out lecture

Natasha Devon MBE visited Forest on Thursday 17 March for the latest Look Out lecture.

Natasha is a campaigner, writer, TV pundit and founder of the Self-Esteem Team who was appointed the Government’s children’s mental health tsar in 2015, before being controversially let go in May 2016.

During the visit, she delivered an ‘outstandingly powerful message’ on mental health, body image and masculinity to a rapt audience of sixth formers in the Deaton Theatre.

Speaking about the lecture, Diploma Coordinator, Mr Tom Burnside said: ‘Due to the Diploma’s explicit focus on engaging with the wider world of ideas, Forest pupils are used to hearing from fantastic speakers, but Natasha’s presentation touched the entire audience and was undoubtedly one of the most insightful and authoritative talks so far in the lecture programme.’

One of the sixth formers explained: ‘Natasha was a very engaging speaker and seemed to have a lot of experience and knowledge of this area. Mentioned the issues of both male and female mental health and was not patronising or aggressive in getting her views across,’ while another added ‘This was one of the best lectures I’ve attended in the year and a half I have been in the sixth form. She should definitely be invited back to speak in future years.’

Following the lecture, Natasha was interviewed by Y9 pupil Tom as part of Forest’s BBC School Report Day.

During the interview, Natasha explained to Tom, the organisation which was set up in 2013 with Grace Barrett and Nadia Mendoza to ‘try and make this mental health conversation more universal’.

She added: ‘When we talk about mental health, people tend to convince it to mental illness and that’s definitely part of the conversation, but everyone has a brain and that means we have a mental health.

‘We wanted to explore what the basic things we could all do that would look after our brains, the kind of mental health equivalent of healthy eating and exercise.’

Tom also asked Natasha, who was awarded an MBE in 2015, about social media with the writer explaining it ‘definitely has an impact on is self esteem,’ and that ‘it effects the way we think about ourselves and our identity, and how we interact with others.’